Monday, February 28, 2005

Carol Duboc - 'All of You'

Be Aware! Once you press "Play", you will want to listen over and over. Other CD's in your collection will get jealous. Carol Duboc has created something special with her latest release "All of You". Listen carefully, you will hear offerings of old and new.
"All of You" quietly sneaks up and taps you softly on the shoulder. This music is fresh and clean and never in a hurry.

I say there is quite "simply" a lot going on here. You will like every song. Carol totally "uncovers" the cover tunes with fresh, soulful arrangements. Just sit back and listen to Sunny, Ain't No Sunshine, Every Breath You Take, Use Me, Spirits in the Material World, Blackbird. They are all done in a way you won't expect. Carol's original compositions compliment nicely and display her talents. More Originals please! I especially like "Drowning" and Land Richards' brush work. He creates a nice flowing stream of water that could drown any listener.

I predict you will listen to "All of You" with a book by the fire in Winter, morning coffee at the beach during Summer, with friends and dinner on the deck, you can't go wrong. Listen and get ready to relax.

This is music without a mold and that is what I like about it.

Quickly something about the instrumentation, Fender Rhodes, thanks for the "old school" sound. Upright bass provides the perfect bottom deeper than the ocean. Good drumming is "felt". Well done!!!

This CD has earned a place in my collection.

Smooth Jazz? Maybe, but look out for the curves. They will pleasantly move you.

Thanks Carol!

Reviewed by: Bruce Pulver []

Music biz may raise prices for downloads

Just as legal music downloading is taking off in earnest, the major record labels are in talks to raise the price they charge online retailers for song downloads, a newspaper reported Monday.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Nils - 'Pacific Coast Highway'

Although the veteran composer/guitarist's website could use a major update — it is contemporary to 1998 — he's right in the pocket of modern smooth jazz with his 2005 release. He comes with a solid pedigree in the genre, having recorded a duet with George Benson (who also once covered "Keep Rollin'," given a trippy-moody makeover here), and working with Rick Braun, Marcus Johnson and Gabriela Anders. But his all-star associations aren't as important as his facility for melody and groove, and he does well on both counts here, beginning with the bright, vibrant Norman Brown-like title track, playing it snappy and funky on "Back Pocket" and showing a more intimate side with "Coming Home." Lively, swinging breezy gems like "Cruisin'" show off a powerful ability to collaborate with some of the genre's best sidemen, including Abe Laboriel, Rob Mullins, Alex Acuña and Paul Jackson Jr., whose influence on the guitarist is apparent throughout the project. While he's solid as a writer of radio-friendly tunes, he includes a few covers for variety, one a throbbing twist on "You've Got a Friend," the other a much more eventful and interesting bluesy jam on Toto's minor hit "Georgy Porgy." Whether Nils can break through to the genre elite is up in the air, but he's certainly got some good material here to start him on his way.
Review by Jonathan Widran [AMG]

Monday, February 14, 2005

Starbucks rides high with Ray on Grammy night

Ray CharlesThe Seattle-based coffee house chain's Hear Music division, together with specialty label Concord Records, co-produced, marketed and distributed the late Ray Charles' triple-platinum selling "Genius Loves Company" album, which won eight awards at Sunday's 47th annual Grammy presentation in Los Angeles.
The awards included "Album of the Year" and "Record of the Year" with Norah Jones.
Charles' final album was released last August, two months after his death, and quickly became the best-selling recording of his more than 50-year career.

Jazz Composer Nabs Grammy After Web-Only Sales

Jazz composer Maria Schneider took home a Grammy on Sunday for her album "Concert in the Garden," without selling a single copy in a record store.

Schneider, 44, financed her Grammy-winning album through a Internet-based music delivery service called ArtistShare that opens the financing of production to dedicated fans.

Schneider said she believed she might be the first artist ever to win a Grammy for an album distributed solely on the Web. But she said that other musicians had already approached her about trying similar experiments of their own.

"It's been very gratifying for me. It's a new way for fans to be closer to artists and artists to be closer to fans," Schneider told reporters after receiving her award.

"They (fans) came into the project long before I completed my CD," she said.

Schneider, who was ArtistShare's first participating artist, said she had funded the cost of her original budget before she started recording, an anomaly in recording, particularly with jazz albums.

The "Concert in the Garden" CD was limited to 10,000 copies, with 9,000 available for pre-order to participants and 1,000 held in reserve for later auction, through ArtistShare.

"This record cost $87,000 to make. I already made my money back," she said. "I'm not splitting the profits with the distributor, the record store and the record company. It's working so well for me,"

To be sure, big record labels were also humming at the 47th annual Grammys (news - web sites) on Sunday about the fast-growing digital music market.

Sales of digital downloads, while still a small piece of the overall music business, rose to more than 143 million tracks in 2004 from 19.2 million in 2003.

In 2004, sales of digital music players like Apple Computer Inc.'s iPod exploded, and recording artists are also relying increasingly on revenue from other non-traditional sources like films, videogames and cellphone ring tones.

[Sue Zeidier - Reuters]

47th Annual Grammy Awards Winners List

Best Contemporary Jazz Album
(For albums containing 51% or more playing time of INSTRUMENTAL tracks.)

Bill Frisell
[Nonesuch Records]

Best Jazz Vocal Album
(For albums containing 51% or more playing time of VOCAL tracks.)

R.S.V.P. (Rare Songs, Very Personal)
Nancy Wilson
[MCG Jazz]

Best Jazz Instrumental Solo
(For an instrumental jazz solo performance. Two equal performers on one recording may be eligible as one entry. If the soloist listed appears on a recording billed to another artist, the latter's name is in parenthesis for identification. Singles or Tracks only.)

Speak Like A Child
Herbie Hancock, soloist
Track from: With All My Heart (Harvey Mason)

Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group
(For albums containing 51% or more playing time of INSTRUMENTAL tracks.)

McCoy Tyner With Gary Bartz, Terence Blanchard, Christian McBride & Lewis Nash
[Telarc Jazz]

Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album
(For large jazz ensembles, including big band sounds. Albums must contain 51% or more INSTRUMENTAL tracks.)

Concert In The Garden
Maria Schneider Orchestra

Best Latin Jazz Album
(Vocal or Instrumental.)

Land Of The Sun
Charlie Haden
[Verve International]


Thursday, February 10, 2005

'Pioneering' organist Smith dies at 79

Jimmy SmithJimmy Smith, an award-winning jazz organist who was considered a pioneer with the instrument, has died of natural causes at his home. He was 79.

Smith's death Tuesday in Scottsdale was announced by officials at Concord Records.

"Jimmy Smith transformed the organ into a jazz instrument. Jazz has lost a pioneering talent, not to mention a one-of-a-kind personality," National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Dana Gioia said Wednesday.

Born in Norristown, Pennsylvania, in 1925, Smith ruled the Hammond B-3 organ in the 1950s and 1960s, fusing R&B, blues, and gospel influences with bebop references.

Smith's sessions with record label Blue Note from 1956 to 1963 included collaborations with Kenny Burrell, Lee Morgan, Lou Donaldson, Tina Brooks, Jackie McLean, Ike Quebec and Stanley Turrentine. He started playing the Hammond organ in 1951.

"Jimmy was one of the greatest and most innovative musicians of our time," said fellow Hammond B-3 artist Joey DeFrancesco.

The two recently recorded an album together called Legacy, which is scheduled to be released next week.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

'It's all about the raw material'

Ray CharlesMaking somebody "sound great" has rarely been a problem for Ramone. He has engineered and produced some of the most popular -- and most talented -- singers in the music business. The list includes Sinatra, Simon, Joel, Tony Bennett, James Taylor, Liza Minnelli and Ray Charles.

He's up for two Grammys for his work on Charles' swan song, "Genius Loves Company," for which he produced five cuts. He's also nominated for his work on "The Boy from Oz," and he'll be receiving a special technical award. Overall, including the technical award, he has won 10 Grammys.

If Ramone is best known these days for his work with vocalists, he has actually ranged all over the musical spectrum in his career, engineering and/or producing records for jazzmen John Coltrane, Stan Getz and Gerry Mulligan; folkies Peter, Paul & Mary; soft music duo the Carpenters; hard rocker Alice Cooper; and the Broadway casts of "Promises, Promises" and "Chicago" (both of which, incidentally, featured Jerry Orbach).

Carol Duboc - All Of You

Seduction of voice is so very effective when done with a unique style and made to seem effortless. Independents seem to have that vital combination for the free spirit is alive and well within their soul. Carol Duboc is no exception with her sultry mode of expression and a deep dramatic performance rekindled from within her heart, a wonderful talent exists and is allowed to be released. Such is witnessed in her new release from Gold Note Music, simply entitled “All Of You.”

Make no mistake, Ms. Duboc is on her way to be a class vocalist in the genre, the proof of that is launched from her performances as she continually fine tunes her gift. There is a blues feel to many of the cuts on this project however it is highly noticeable in “Use Me”, that passion bleeds from each note set free. There are subtle pauses throughout the delivery of certain cuts which add to the ambiance of Ms. Duboc’s effort. Very effective touch.

In need of indulgence, acquaint yourself with Ms. Duboc’s interpretation of the Beatles “Blackbird”, such moods don’t just happen, they are created with planned execution! This as well as the other pieces define this project as the placid side of Ms. Duboc.

The arrangements on this project also allow the listeners to visit a different look at Ms. Duboc’s talents. Far removed from her other projects, this has a strong scent of simplicity, which is welcomed by many who grasp the “All Of You” happening!

“All Of You” is just what it says, it’s all for you!

[Karl Stober]

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Bobby Caldwell - 'Perfect Island Nights'

Bobby Caldwell hasn't changed. He still sounds the same. So what does this mean? It means that by picking up Perfect Island Nights there will be no surprises, but you don't really want any do you? Of course not. This CD is just perfect the way it is, full of strong, well written and well recorded songs. The tunes are snappy and grab you right from the first song. So snappy I wonder why (not really because I know why) the first single is a cover song with Deniece Williams, "Where Is The Love." The originals here are extremely strong. The first three songs, "In The Afterlife," "Crazy For Your Love," and "Donna" just hit you and then hit you again. Makes you go wow! I love the way Caldwell choruses with himself. He does this through out and I just dig it. "Our Day Will Come" has this calypso, island feel to it while ""I Need You Love" has more of a R&B flavor. "Can't Get Over You" is just down right pretty. "Call Me Up" sounds like a Paul McCartney tune. Caldwell didn't need to put "Rain" on this CD since it appeared on Time & Again, but since there were so many good songs here one more just added to fun. I ripped a lot of songs from this CD for my Ipod and I'm not a big vocal guy so that should tell you something.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Rippingtons Complete 15th CD

Wild CardRuss Freeman and the Rippingtons will release a new album in May.

The Rippingtons' new CD, Wild Card, will feature two salsa singers and R&B vocalist Chante Moore. The album by the venerable smooth jazz band, which is led by Russ Freeman, will be released on his Peak Records label.
The CD is the band’s 15th and follows Let It Ripp, which was released in May 2003. Moore will be featured on a cover version of the Aretha Franklin hit “Til You Come Back To Me,” while Cuban singers Albita and Willy Chirino – both of whom are salsa music stars in Cuba – will be featured on two songs.

Song titles include “Spanish Girl,” “Paradise,” “King Of Hearts,” “Gypsy Eyes” and “Moonlight.” Wild Card will released on May 3.

Wild Card

1. Spanish Girl
2. Wild Card
3. Mulat de Mi Amor
4. Paradise
5. King of Hearts
6. Midnight Ride
7. Gypsy Eyes
8. El Vacilon
9. In the End
10. Moonlight
11. Lay It Down
12. Til You Come Back to Me

[by Brian Soergel -]